White Guys and the Prospect of an Obama Presidency

In this recent piece in the New York Times, Paul Krugman compares Richard Nixon’s political strategy to John McCain’s, in particular, the central idea that:

By exploiting America’s divisions — divisions over Vietnam, divisions over cultural change and, above all, racial divisions — he was able to reinvent the Republican brand. The party of plutocrats was repackaged as the party of the “silent majority,” the regular guys — white guys, it went without saying — who didn’t like the social changes taking place.

Krugman’s piece along with Rush Limbaugh’s (“it’s all about race”) reaction to Powell’s endorsement of Obama  has me thinking about white guys and the possibility of an Obama presidency.   When it comes to white men and this election, it looks like there’s a pattern, as Joe has noted here before.   Of course, some white men are supporting Obama.  Indeed, where I live in the liberal-bubble that is Manhattan, I see a fair number of white men each day wearing Obama buttons (image from here).

Seeing this emerging trend of white-guys-with-Obama-buttons in my neighborhood makes me ponder what the prospect of an Obama presidency might mean for racism and social change in the U.S.

I mean, maybe, just maybe, if the economy continues to tank, and if the voter fraud is held to a minimum, and if all the newly registered voters show up on election day, then we’ll actually have the first African-American president in our nation’s 400 year history.  And, then what? Declare that racism has ended, cue the hallelujah chorus and close down the blog, perhaps?   If Obama wins this election maybe it just proves the point that I’ve misjudged white guys.  Maybe white guys really do want social change after all.  I mean, Christopher Buckely has endorsed Obama and he’s about as white as it gets.

Perhaps.     But, let’s look at some data and see what we know about white guys and whether or not I might have misjudged them. Continue reading…